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Posts Tagged ‘healthcare social media’

Recently we’ve been talking to a local medical group about its marketing. When my team presented its recommendations, they included digital strategies (pay-per-click was a big component), additional video content for various platforms, and social media marketing, among others. Unfortunately, the powers that be within this group do not believe that social media is an important component of an overall marketing program for a medical practice. “No one uses Facebook to find a physician.” They had similar feedback related to LinkedIn and Twitter.

With that in mind, I decided to conduct a quick test using my Facebook account. I use Facebook primarily to connect with business friends and colleagues around the country. I don’t have many contacts/Facebook Friends who actually live in my community. So, when I posted my request for recommendations for an orthopedic practice in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, I wasn’t sure what I’d get. You can see my post below.

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Below is a csreen shot of the exchange that ensued (it is still going on). As you’ll see, within 2 hours I had recommendations for three different orthopedic practices in the area (Duke, UNC Sports Medicine and Triangle Orthopedics), along with recommendations for Bikram Hot Yoga and Vodka. Two suggested I consider alternative options: one suggested neuromuscular massage while another recommended seeing a physiatrist. (Physiatrists, or rehabilitation physicians, are nerve, muscle, and bone experts who treat injuries or illnesses that affect how you move.) Later I received a second recommendation for Triangle Orthopedics. Remember, the people making these recommendations are old friends – people I trust. For me, there is power in these recommendations. Note: I’ve blacked out names of individuals in consideration of their privacy.

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You’re a social media user. Maybe even an early adopter. Then you may have heard of Thunderclap. If not, check out this terrific video introducing this powerful crowd-speaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together. The platform allows you to lend your voice to a cause – along with the voices of many others. (Depicted in the screen shot above is New York Presbyterian’s Thunderclap page where supporters can join in and help share NYP’s message celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.) Watch the video to learn how Thunderclap works.

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IMG_2605This time of year I normally attend the Mayo Clinic’s Social Media Summit in Rochester, Minnesota. It is one of the highlights of my year. What’s cool about the Summit is the amazing  concentration of healthcare social media practitioners and online community managers. It is unlike any other healthcare marketing conference that I attend.

Last week, while others attended the Mayo Social Media Summit, I was in Boston filming physicians and hospital administrators. You see, this year, instead of sending myself to Mayo, I made the decision to send one of our young social media account executives (Kate Rudy) to Mayo as a learning opportunity. I hated not being there with all my friends and colleagues, but was thrilled for Kate who made the most of the opportunity. She responded to the Summit as I always do: energized, excited and overwhelmed with new knowledge. As she  said in an email to me: “My tour of the Mayo Clinic left me speechless. Lots of information to digest.” I’m so glad that I made the decision to send her in my stead. I enjoyed following her Tweets from the conference and reading her email messages to my team. It was a good decision.

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What do you think about FourSquare and its future in the social media realm? For the last few years I’ve been using FourSquare – checking in at various spots as I live my daily life. I like being able to check in at a location with a photo, and post it simultaneously on Facebook. Frankly, it is the main way I handle status updates on Facebook. If it weren’t for FourSquare and Instagram, I would almost never post anything to Facebook and my friends would completely lose track of me!

I’ve found it fascinating to look at the picture of my life that FourSquare provides when I look back at my history of check-ins. There’s no hiding from the data. In a way, it is a form of ethnographic research that allows you to identify the patterns in someone’s life (mine in this case). Although the data in no way gives you a complete picture, it does give you some clear themes with which to work.

For example, here’s what FourSquare has to say about my life:

  • Is it more important to be the “mayor” of your company, or president? I am currently Mayor of Starbucks, Chapel Hill Quest Center (my daughter’s martial arts studio), Jennings (my company), Philip’s House (my friend Philip White) and Dan’s Mountain Retreat.
  • In the last six months, the top places I’ve checked in include: Starbucks (near my home), Starbucks (near my office), Jennings (my office), Raleigh-Durham Airport and Chapel Hill Quest Center.
  • The category of businesses that I’ve visited the most include: Medical Centers, Coffee Shops, Airports, Hotels, and American Restaurants. That says a lot. There’s my professional life in a snapshot.
  • Over the last 6 months I’ve checked in at 11 different airports. This shows that I’ve done a good job of curtailing my travel.
  • I’ve checked-in at Raleigh-Durham International Airport 82 times overall; 22 times in the last 6 months.
  • I’ve checked-in at Boston Logan Airport 43 times.
  • My caffeine habit has led me to check in at the Starbucks near my home 443 times over the last 3 years.
  • PF Changs is the restaurant where I have checked in the most with 121 visits since joining FourSquare. The good news is that if I am at PF Changs, it means I am with my family! I take that as a good sign. It is one of our special places for dinner – particularly on Sunday nights when the stress of a new week can start creeping in. Changs tends to help us fend off the stress.

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A year ago I met Brett Doucette at the SHSMD conference in Pheonix, Arizona. At the time, Brett was a web content and social media specialist for Phoenix Children’s Hospital. On the side, Brett serves on the adjunct faculty of Ashford University. He contacted me a couple of weeks ago asking if I would record podcast with him for his class on Healthcare Social Media. If you knew Brett, you’d understand why I was happy to help him out. He’s a great guy and a top notch marketer.

Today Brett emailed me a link to the podcast that now resides on YouTube. As long as it is already out there, and Brett invested the time in producing it, I decided I would share it in this forum. (I apologize for the audio quality but it was a phone interview…) Here are some of the questions we covered during the interview:

1) Tell me what role you play with social media.

2) Specific to healthcare, what eHealth trends have you most paid attention to?

3) Again specific to healthcare, what strategies would you employ to build and engage an audience?

4) What do you think is the future of social media in healthcare?

5) Are there any disadvantages of using social media when communicating with patients?

6) What advice or tips would you give to students that are using/will use social media at their workplace?

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It is common knowledge that not everyone active in the realm of social media participates in the same way. Some access their accounts daily and interact with brand campaign initiatives on a consistent basis while others only browse for brief periods of time before disengaging. Whichever the case, Aimia, a global leader in loyalty management, has published a recent study (pdf download) that analyzed and categorized the different types of social media users on the web. In their research brief, Staring at the Sun: Identifying, Understanding and Influencing Social Media Users, Aimia has developed a segmentation model describing six distinct social media personas which may be useful for healthcare marketers interested in engaging specific types of social media users.

The following 6 personas comprising the entire U.S. adult population ages 18 or older:

No Shows (41% of US population) – least involved with social media, if at all; infrequently engage in online commerce.

Newcomers (15%) – passive users of a single social media network, primarily to enhance offline relationships

Onlookers (16%) – observe others via social channels on a regular basis, but share almost no personal information

Cliquers (6%) – active users of one network; influential among their small group of friends and family

Mix-n-Minglers (19%) – those who regularly share and interact with a diverse group of connections via social media

Sparks (3%) – most active and deeply engaged users of social media; will serve as enthusiastic online ambassadors for their favorite brands

Doug Rozen, lead author of the report and Senior Vice President at Aimia, was quoted in The Sacramento Bee describing the benefit that this data brings to marketers:

“Marketers often struggle to understand the true motivations and purchase intent behind customers’ social media activity. Proper segmentation allows marketers to appropriately identify, understand and influence customers through social channels.” (Source: The Sacramento Bee)

Aimia’s segmentation is based on two primary emotional drivers behind social media participation. One is trust. The other is control. According to Rozen,

“The more trust a consumer places in social media networks and their connections, the more likely they are to actively participate whereas the more control a consumer perceives over their social media activity, the more likely they are to engage with a wider variety of social media networks.” (Source: The Sacramento Bee)

Aimia has touched on a subject that should be very useful to hospital marketers hoping to better understand specific segments of their overall audience. As I am fond of saying, the day of the one-size-fits-all marketing solution is gone. (Did it ever really exist, or was that just bad marketing?) We are not communicating with a homogeneous audience. Even within specific demographic groups, there are psychographic variances that are important to understand. So understanding how people vary in their use of social media seems fundamental to developing any strategy for consumer engagement (or physician engagement).

What do you think? Has Aimia hit the mark by distinguishing and analyzing distinct social media personas? Is this information helpful to you? To read the original article from The Sacramento Bee, click here.

To access the complete report and infographic of Aimia’s study, “Staring at the Sun,” click, here. Below is the infographic from Aimia.

(Post written by Dan Dunlop with Charles Ramsey, Jennings Healthcare Marketing Intern and Wake Forest University student)

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